New Delhi: Pressing India to conclude the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA and seek waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group by May, the United States on 5 March 2008 voiced confidence that the deadline will be met despite stiff political opposition here.
Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher maintained that the Hyde Act will apply in terms of allowing the US Administration to pursue civil nuclear cooperation with India but refused to clearly spell out the fallout on the agreement if India were to conduct an atomic test.
“The time is short... The time is tight, very tight and there is lot of work to be done,” Boucher told a press conference here when asked about the fate of the nuclear deal.
The US official, who discussed the status of nuclear deal with Indian officials, said realistically, New Delhi should firm up Safeguards Agreement with IAEA and seek waiver from NSG by May to give the Congress time to have a final vote on the agreement.
Asked whether he was optimistic, he replied in the affirmative. “We can make that happen,” he said.
To a question about opposition by political parties to the deal, Boucher said the US “understands” such processes which are normal in democracies and it was for the government here to see how to “overcome” these as there is not much time.
On the status of India-IAEA talks, he said New Delhi had conveyed that it will communicate to Washington when the agreement is finalized. He assumed that it will take up to two weeks to conclude the agreement.